THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS BETWEEN 6:00:00 PM AND 7:00:00 PM.
6:00:01 – 6:00:02 – 6:00:03 – 6:00:04 –
Out with a bang for President James Heller then. “End of the road Jack.”
With Margot laying waste to London along a trail that Jack Bauer tried to escape from her drone with, President Heller has resigned himself to surrendering to Margot Al-Harazi, banking on faith in the personal nature of these attacks that Margot will desist in her destruction once he’s dead.
Reckless, Mr. President.
Meanwhile, Agent Morgan rushes Margot’s disillusioned and mortally injured daughter to the London CIA Medical Care, desperate to get any information from her before Margot strikes again.
Heller summons Jack back to the US delegation asking if there are any actionable leads on Al-Harazi yet. Jack gives Heller the bad news and Heller says that he has an assignment that Jack won’t like. Jack says he’ll do anything the President needs. Except, it turns out, help him turn himself over to Margot. That’s out of the question, because the “THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS! C’mon Jack, you’re smarter than this. It could have simply been Jack trying anything to wake Heller up from what is apparently such a foolish idea, but I would have liked a bit more logical argument form Jack here instead of relying on platitudes.
Heller isn’t taking no for an answer. He confesses, rather heatedly, that he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for 6 months, that he’s certain he’ll be forced to resign in disgrace anyway and that he’s confident that Margot will decimate London unless he surrenders himself to her.
Jack reluctantly agrees, but asks if Heller’s going to tell Audrey. Heller doesn’t speak, but it’s obvious that he’s not going to. Jack tells the President that if he’s going to pulls this off, he’s going to need another collaborator on the inside to distract the secret service and British security for Heller to slip away.
Who does Heller pick for this job? Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau.
WHAT?! This is a horrible idea! Even more so than turning yourself into Margot in the first place. Do I have to list all the reason why Mark is a bad choice for this? We know Mark is notorious for second guessing and going behind the President’s back. Let us not forget that plot point of forging his signature which, by the way, was an executive order to hand Jack over to the Russians, because Mark believed that Jack might have resurfaced in London to kill Heller himself! Oy Vey!
BUT there is one interesting factor that could be part of Mark’s motivation to go along with this scheme, even though for most of the episode it looks as though Mark sincerely wants to give Heller this final service. If Heller bites it, there may be less of a chance that Mark will be found out in forging the President’s signature, or at least, that may be part of his thinking.
As far as Jack is concerned, we can see him almost tearing himself up inside over this assignment. His two defining drives, his sense of responsibility for the safety of his friends and his loyalty are at odds with each other.
That seems like the main reason Jack becomes down-right nasty about pursuing every potential avenue of tracking Al-Harazi down before the moment that Heller surrenders himself. He calls Kate Morgan at the CIA London emergency room and tells her that Heller has agreed to turn himself into Al-Harazi. Morgan is shocked and Bauer insists that this information stays between them, and that the only way they may be able to avert this is if Simone gives them some kind of lead on her mother. Simone is still in critical condition though, slipping away fast from the trauma of the bus collision and suffering from the prolonged consciousness of the car drone chase. Kate tells Jack that the doctors say Simone will die if she is kept awake any longer.
Jack doesn’t care. “Wake the bitch up,” are his exact words, before hanging up.
Cold, Jack. Cold. But on the other hand it makes perfect sense. In Jack’s mind, Simone could have seen the error of her mother’s ways like her protective instinct should have, and given them information on Margot’s location right away, which would have meant they could have had a real chance of stopping her before Heller had to consider surrendering himself. Jack blames Simone for his friend feeling he has to commit suicide.
Kate agrees with the necessity of waking Simone. The CIA doctor is adamant that waking Simone will kill her, but Kate pulls a gun on him. Saying Simone’s death will be on her, the doctor wakes her. Kate quietly intones to Simone that hundreds of other women and children like her sister-in-law and niece will die if she doesn’t help them now. Simone barley utters an address, but also says that Margot will be gone. She also mentions that there will be a drive in the floorboard, the one Naveed told her about that will exonerate her and give them access to Margot’s drone hacking frequency.
YAY, SIMONE! I really hope she doesn’t die. She’s by far my favorite new character and the most interesting as well. Kate dispatches a CIA team to the actual Al-Harazi house, long vacated after Margot and President Heller had their face to face. They recover the hard drive and Kate transfers it over to Chloe, who is still doing counter-terrorism hacking from a pub, while the locals mix around her with apologetic “saurreh luv”s.
In the meantime CIA analyst Jordan Reed, who was dispatched by the two-faced CIA head Steve Navarro on a phony field mission so that he could get Jordan’s snooping dealt with, has survived to give Adrian Cross’s cleaner chase. He sneaks into a car shop, and desperately calls Navarro to tell him he was ambushed. Navarro, the scumbag, tells him to stay where he is and that he’ll dispatch Agent Ritter to pick him up. So what does he actually do? Tell the cleaner where Reed is.
Reed’s a bit craftier than that though. As the cleaner enters, Jordan pulls the old knock out with a hidden blunt swing, and nabs both his guns. I guess CIA analysts don’t get even basic gun use courses because you can see Jordan holding the gun incorrectly and that he can’t tell right away whether the safety is off or not. Reed falls for the cleaner’s made-you-look, tackles him and sinks a knife into his chest like Private Mellish. Jordan gets his gun out and plugs him twice, rolling his corpse off him. But Jordan lays dying with no one to help him. Looks like curtains for Jordan Reed.
Back at the CIA, Navarro is telling Adrian Cross that Reed has been dealt with, but Kate has started asking for him, wanting his help with the data they found at the Al-Harazi house. Navarro acts the part and then agrees to dispatch a team to look for him. I hope he gets exposed.
This delay in intel review manpower could compromise Jack’s efforts to locate Al-Harazi in time. It certainly doesn’t help that Cross calls Chloe again and distracts her with moralizing about still helping Jack.
After Mark Boudreau calls a staff meeting to get the halls clear and Jack removes Heller’s subdermal tracker to throw off the secret service, Jack escorts Heller to a chopper that will take them to Wembley Stadium, where Margot has demanded Heller surrender himself. He’s calling Chloe the whole way there, pleading for her to hurry, but it’s not enough.
Heller stands at the entrance to the field and Jack’s protests aren’t enough to sway him now. He walks out to the entrance to the field and removes his hat, waiting for his fate.
Margot and her son Ian have relocated and a disagreement is brewing between them. Heller made Margot swear that if he surrendered himself, let her prove her touted abhorrence for civilian bloodshed by destroying the remaining drones. Margot agrees on the call….and seems like she’s going to do just that even when the call is over. Heller is the only one she wanted and she seems impressed that Heller approached her so candidly. “Let the world see that a terrorist can keep their word.”
If you say so, Margot. Somehow I don’t think the world will see the wife of a dead terrorist bullying the President of the United States into surrendering to a drone strike as simply a personal debt being settled.
Ian isn’t keen on destroying the drones either, thinking it’s a waste when they’ve gone through so much trouble to steal them, but Margot will have her way, as ever. Their drone hovers over Wembley, identifying James Heller by facial recognition. Margot insists on taking the trigger herself and after a few moments of truly breath holding suspense, the missile is away. It’s all over so quickly, where James Heller stood there is now a cloud of dust and a crater in the AstroTurf. And the hour ends.
Wow. Jack came out of hiding for 4 years to stop Margot’s plot against President Heller only to ultimately help deliver Heller right into her crosshairs. Whole lotta good that Presidential pardon for Jack’s crimes today and four years ago is gonna do him after watching one of his oldest and most respected friends get incinerated by a terrorist. It’s all the more painful thinking about Audrey, whom Heller made sure to share some fond family moments with before departing. She figures out that he’s gone, though, and Mark can’t even bring himself to pretend to be clueless. Audrey realizes that she’s helped him surrender to Margot and Audrey screams at him, slaps him and tells him she will never trust him again, that she should have had the chance to try and talk him out of it or at least say goodbye. Mark says that Heller was one of the finest men he knew and that he wanted to do him this last service but that they have to keep this quiet.
I’m on Audrey’s side here. I wouldn’t say she should have talked Heller out of his plan, but it’s more about treating Audrey like an adult and not a fragile invalid. Heller and Mark have both been molly coddling Audrey this season when she’s shown repeatedly that she can handle these desperate situations and that they only cause trouble by lying to her. If Heller was so convinced that surrendering himself to Margot was the right thing to do, then he should have trusted Audrey with his conviction.
Anyway. Despite my suspension of disbelief being cynically tinged with regard to this episode’s plot, the possibility that Margot will keep her word and destroy the drones is interesting. I don’t recall any previous villain on 24 stopping their grand schemes for mass destruction because the President actually gave into their demands. Plenty of previous 24 Big Bads have had personal grievances with past good guys and Presidents, but their plans are always about disproportionate retribution, usually on the scale of nuclear holocausts or starting World War 3 or something like that.
But drone warfare, however much the US (even in real life) might want it to be clean and surgical, can cause intensely personal loss, like the one’s Al-Harazi’s family suffered. Margot simply wants revenge on Heller, despite her radical notions of loyalty and her ruthlessness. Imagine if the season continued in such a way that Jack’s feverish sense of justice or if Ian’s determination to use the drones they have hijacked, escalates the situation even further, when Margot might be prepared to call the thing off and keep to her and Heller’s terms? That would be an interesting new commentary for the series, along the lines of what I started hoping for at the season debut. Guess I’ll have to wait until next week.
6:59:57 – 6:59:58 – 6:59:59 – 7:00:00